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D.H. Lawrence - Biography

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
Commentary by Karen Bernardo

Americans often have a distinctly romantic view of the British countryside, assuming it to consist of quaint villages, magnificent estates, flower-laden cottages, and even the occasional lonely and windswept moor. But we forget that in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, much of the English countryside has become the site of manufacturing and mining, two distinctly unromantic activities, which many in that era considered to be almost a sin against nature. Even on those farms which remained, life could be equally hard, as one is perpetually at the mercy of the elements, dangling from the precipice of fate. It is this darker, more dismal, and more haunted side of the countryside that we see reflected in the works of D.H. Lawrence.

The family described in his short story 'The Odour of Chrysanthemums' derives their living from mining; the family in 'The Horse-Dealer's Daughter,' from agriculture. Life for each of these families is hardscrabble and rough; there is little joy in it, and death when it comes seems a welcome release, for it is death that has been drawing them onward all the time. Lawrence skillfully used literary devices such as symbolism and metaphor to show the the emptiness that comes from unfulfilled dreams -- from lives lived at odds with the way life should be.

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Selected Short Stories

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